Selling Skills 101: Selling Yourself

Highlight Your Strengths.  Talk about what you do well.  As in, really well.  Companies want to know what you bring to the table; they’re paying you a salary for the skills you have, and, as the popular phrase states, you get what you pay for.  The right companies will pay top dollar for top talent.  You only have an hour or so in an interview to impress them enough to want you to come back.  Use your time wisely.

Overcome Obstacles.  Hiring an employee is an investment on the company’s part, so naturally, they will want to weigh their options and take a look at your competitors, that is, other candidates interviewing for the position.  Research what skills other professionals similar to you have, see what you match up with and what you lack.  This is a real eye opener for both candidates and clients.  If a company can hire you at the same rate they can hire someone else, but you possess one extra skill or are a subject matter expert in one other field, that could be a huge advantage for you.  Alternatively, if the majority of professionals within your level possess skills you don’t have, make a list of the proficiencies you do bring to the table that may compensate for your deficiency.  Understand the company’s strengths and weaknesses, and deliver solutions that address both.

Address the Competition.  Surely there are hundreds of applicants who are more qualified than you are for the position, or who can do a better job than you could.  But don’t, even for a second, let on that that is the case.  Think about the products you buy and the reasons you choose one over another; you can see the value in both, but one offers more value to you in some way (cost, brand awareness, image, quality, etc).  For example, another candidate may have more experience in the field, but you possess more software knowledge.  Start-ups and small businesses will want to get the biggest bang for their buck.  Larger corporations may want someone with an Ivy League education.  Financial institutions may require a candidate with heavy Excel experience.

In the end, it’s all about positioning.  Highlight the positives, find positives in the negatives, and add in your own personal touch to any experience that requires persuasion (interviews, namely), and you’ll notice you’ll leave feeling more confident in your abilities, and ready to tackle the next challenge.  Bring it on.